Originally rendered in the Spanish language, the book immediately met an instant success and for this reason, it was transcribed into several other languages and dialects across geographies, with its English versions coming in by 1612 and 1620 for the two parts respectively, enabling people of all cultures to enjoy the artful creation in their own local languages and voices.
Generally, the book is a complete joy to read. It doesn’t matter whether you are just reading it for the first time or doing so for the tenth time, there is always a fresh, interesting angle to it that you might have maybe ignored or left unsavory on your previous trials, and it gets even better when the reader gets their hands on a transcribed edition to your local language.
Miguel de Cervantes was pacey brilliant with his beginning of ‘Don Quixote‘, and frankly, this feels unexpected considering that books of such large size tend to start off typically with a drag. However, the reader discovers that it’s quite the opposite. Cervantes employed a method that flies by over the activities of the characters, slowing down only to pick up important scenes and speeding through again, or completely leaving out unimportant conversations and events.
Interesting Bromance Between Cervantes And His Character, Don Quixote
If the reader keeps a keen eye on the cold facts, it’s almost impossible not to notice the rather fascinating relationship that goes on between the narrator, Miguel de Cervantes, and his protagonist, ‘Don Quixote‘. Although everyone is quick to declare Quixote is off his rocker, the reader doesn’t downright get this impression from the narrator, or at least not in the same effusive way as other characters often take it to be.
Every time the narrator talks about ‘Don Quixote’, you could feel a deliberate surge in an effort to try and explain all the logical insights buried in every insanity, every madness exhibited by Don Quixote.
The narrator is not one to act like all the other characters in the book who are either judgemental, or too quick to conclude the erraticness of Don Quixote’s mind and reasoning – of course, this sometimes leads them to throw jibe, snub, and even maul or beat ‘Don Quixote‘ up for thinking or acting the way that he does.
Not to get it wrong though, ‘Don Quixote’, by his overindulgence in chivalric books and classic romances, does really go mad – which is the reason we have ourselves a book so good. But, instead of writing him off and resigning to the fact that his ideas and general outlook on life are useless and unacceptable – which is a popular sentiment easily shared by other characters and most readers, the narrator opts to explore the sense hidden in those gibberish expressions and ideas of ‘Don Quixote’ and in so doing finds out that he is, in fact, even more, sane and reasonable than most characters in the book.
A collection of Many Different Tales
Cervantes’ ability to incorporate many different sallies in a book that has only two parts is something that makes ‘Don Quixote’ extra special. Knuckling down on it as an entrant reader, you immediately find yourself being served with too many interesting stories that at some point you almost start to feel like you’ve picked up, and are reading another interesting book inside of ‘Don Quixote‘.
More so, the author happens to be so talented in the art that he made these out stories so interesting as it is connected to the main story, keeping it concise enough – just so the reader does not veer too far away from the main story, or get bored and disinterested by a stretched side story.
These complementary stories are replete within the novel, and if you did try to count them, you might be shocked by you losing the numbers. Still, clear ones exist which can’t be easily forgotten; like when ‘Don Quixote’s’ squire Sancho is gifted an Island to rule over by the haughty Duke and Duchess.
This mix of collective adventures managed by not only the tragic hero – but also by other smaller characters, is perhaps a strong reason why the book is considered as the first real modern novel, as the adventure carries them to explore different geographies and cultures, well beyond those obtainable around the Spanish peninsula.
Independent, Story-Rich Characters
It is a skillful thing to be able to build great stories that wrap around, and do not interfere with, the main story. However, it gets even more challenging to give your characters the ability to have an independent, complete fulfillment of their own. This is exactly what Miguel de Cervantes did with most of the characters in ‘Don Quixote‘. He succeeded in building them in a way so strong that they are able to survive as the protagonists, each in their own separate books, and it still would make a good read.
No wonder the great William Shakespeare carved out a brilliant piece off one of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ characters, Cardenio. Shakespeare was a keen observer of the works of Cervantes and it became obvious that he too found his Cervantes’ characters irresistibly enticing.
Cardenio is only one of the many characters able to hold their own as a protagonist in their own story. Other characters imbued with such quality include Sancho Panza, the Duke and Duchess, Sampson Carrasco, Dorothea, and Marcella among others not listed here.
A Pure Comic Tragedy, The End
To be honest, it feels a bit disappointing to find out that the hero who makes us wonder and laugh, who charges us to be more enterprising, dies in the end. Although ‘Don Quixote‘ is being satirized by other characters in everything he does from the start of the book, one also finds out, through the Cervantes the narrator, that Quixote ideas and beliefs, however strange and antisocial they appear, bring a sort of joy and laughter to the face of most people who encounter him.
Yes, his ideas also get him snubbed, beaten, and mauled sometimes, but the few who wield the power of the sage are able to understand and take him seriously.
Nevertheless, Quixote meets his end which, arguably, feels untimely even for his age. His arch-nemesis in the likeness of the terrifying white knight defeats him meaning he has to abandon his quest and return home.
Quixote’s death comes as a shocker, even I didn’t anticipate it. Still, he could have lived a fulfilled life and grown much older if he stayed on the road and remained undefeated until all his goals are achieved – including of course uniting with his lady Dulcinea. He dies from illness, but I’d like to think what kills him are sadness, depression, and the disappointment of failing to achieve his greatest goals in life.
How good is ‘Don Quixote‘?
‘Don Quixote’ is considered a very good read, and the fact that it has sold more than 500 million copies and voted the best book of all time proves how good it is.
How hard can it get to read ‘Don Quixote‘?
‘Don Quixote’ is fairly easy to read considering the plain and simple language used. Although it is a long read, with a good concentration in time, reading the whole thing shouldn’t take up more than 24 hours.
Is ‘Don Quixote’ a true-life story?
‘Don Quixote’ is completely fictitious and does not represent a life account of anyone, although its setting and historical plots are based upon reality.
How did Cervantes get the idea for ‘Don Quixote’?
Cervantes’s idea for ‘Don Quixote’ gained momentum from when he was imprisoned, and it is believed that much of his bestseller Don Quixote was written behind bars.
What major contribution does Cervantes bring to the Renaissance?
As per his literary accomplishments, Cervantes’ major contributions to the Renaissance are mostly in the areas of poetry, prose, and screenplays; his works most of which influence a league of future writers and authors.
Don Quixote Review: First Modern Novel By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote Review
Don Quixote is one true classic that never goes out of style. Its age is nearly half a millennium and yet the impact it brings is still felt till this day. This is one novel that converts drab records of chivalric traditions into something so exciting, entertaining, and livable. Above all, it is a novel that encourages the reader to pursue those personal dreams and ideas against society’s expectations and make a meaningful change of their own.
- Captivating and endlessly readable
- Simulates reader’s imagination
- Drives the reader’s feeling of self-belief
- Ironic, as enlightenment equals madness
- Too many complicated stories wrapped in one
- Less than justifiable end to the protagonist